3G is a more secure form of connectivity than public Wi-Fi access for enterprises looking to implement mobile computing strategies, claims Orange.
But IT managers need to take greater control of mobile security projects to protect corporate information from falling into the wrong hands, said Nigel Shardlow, head of innovation at Orange UK.
Speaking at the IT Directors' Forum, Shardlow said: "3G will provide the security that public wireless local area networks (Lans) can not, and it will probably be cheaper as well."
Orange plans to make a 3G datacard available in the second half of 2004.
"When looking at mobile security, IT managers should either install a virtual private network client solution or they can even connect the corporate Lan directly into a GPRS or 3G network, meaning that data does not have to go over the public internet," explained Shardlow.
Higher 3G data transfer rates will also drive greater usage of sales and automation applications, GPS tracking and peer-to-peer video conferencing in the enterprise, said Shardlow, but 3G network coverage will initially prevent usage in certain areas.
"As processor technologies improve, what we are going to see is people doing more and more things on smartphones that you currently use a laptop for," he said.
Shardlow predicted that the growth of business applications for smartphones would also increase use of mobile computing in the enterprise, but cautioned that IT managers need to put strategies in place to ensure consistency across the business.
"You do not want multiple devices across the company; consistency is needed, otherwise there could be support issues," he said.
Shardlow also warned that IT managers should do more to protect corporate data on mobile devices from security risks such as 'bluesnarfing' and theft.
"Bluetooth isn't a particularly secure technology unless you take care with it," he said.
"There's a security issue to think about. You need to think about what policies to implement to manage risk."
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